Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Monday, April 10, 2017

Prez pledges to follow ‘established procedures’ in appointing judges

By Shamindra Ferdinando- 

President Maithripala Sirisena has assured National Unity Alliance (NUA) leader Azath Salley that political interference wouldn’t be allowed in the appointment of the new President of the Court of Appeal.

NUA leader Salley yesterday told The Island that he had received an assurance from President Maithripala following the front-page story headlined ‘CC urged to thwart ‘political interference’ in yesterday’s edition of The Island.

"I’m glad, President Sirisena responded immediately after the alleged political interference was brought to his notice."

President of the Court of Appeal Justice Vijith K. Malalagoda, PC, was recently appointed to the Supreme Court after being overlooked on more than one occasion and, as a result, the post of the Appeal Court President fell vacant.

President Sirisena has told Salley that A. H. M. D. Nawaz would be appointed on April 11 (today) to function as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal pending a permanent appointment.

Salley has told President Sirisena that the administration had interfered in the established procedure and recommended Justice P. R. Walgama, third on the seniority list, through the Office of the Chief Justice to the Constitutional Council chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

The Constitutional Council comprises Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, Ministers, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, John Seneviratne, MP Vijitha Herath, Sarvodaya Leader A.T. Ariyaratne, former UN official Radhika Coomaraswamy and former Attorney General Shibly Aziz.

Salley has brought to the notice of President Sirisena that it isn’t fair to interfere in the Office of the Chief Justice Priyasath Dep. Responding to a query, Salley claimed that he had informed President Sirisena that the Office of the CJ had been told to issue a letter recommending Justice Walgama.

Alleging that the latest move had severely undermined the Constitutional Council established in accordance with the 19 Amendment to the Constitution, Salley said that the recommendation in respect of Justice Walgama had been made at the expense of Justice Deepali Wijesundera and Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz, first and second judges of Court of Appeal as per seniority.

Salley explained that President Sirisena’s assurance meant that the recommendation that had been sent to the Constitutional Council couldn’t be considered and a fresh recommendation would have to be made by the Office of the Chief Justice.